Tambour Doors


Usually found on appliance garages or bread boxes, most tambour doors, like the one on this Stanley tool chest, are made by carefully gluing strips of wood on a canvas backing.


Stanley Tools used to sell oak tool chest complete with all the tools the average home-owner would need. Old tool catalogs indicate that the company started using "roll-up" or tambour doors in 1934. Back in the day, $114 was considerable money. Today I have hand planes that cost more.


Not confirmed, but I think this well preserved #850 (all Stanley tool had a number) is from the 50's. From catalogs, it looks like the number was more indicative of the tools it contained, not the chest itself. This one now graces the pantry in my old house. Unfortunately no tools came with the chest, but it didn't take long for it to fill-up.


Amana Tools has developed an ingenious router bit set that allows for milling interlocking tambours.


After some careful setup and numerous passes through the router table the individual tambours are ready for assembly. With the shoulders cut correctly, the tambours can negotiate a 3 1/2" radius turn.


The small cabinet to the left of my home office frig is my first attempt at a tambour door using reclaimed old growth pine to match much of the house.


Behind the door is the home IT equipment on a slide out tray. Small box joint drawers are included for the prereferral equipment such as thumb drives, etc. Of course, the finish is Odie's Oil. For this application I used Odie's Oxy Oil. The theory is that Odie's Oxy will allow the wood to oxidize some giving it a richer patina as it ages.


Conclusion: This was very doable and fun project. The use of feather boards is mandatory for milling the pieces. The directions included with the bit set allows for making the pieces without having to deal with small parts - important when dealing with a router table. Using Odie's Oil for the finish is brilliant because it lubricates the individual tambours making for a very smooth operation.